Interview: Fear of Flying are open and honest
Melbourne-based band Fear of Flying have just dropped their debut EP ‘Somewhere Over the Pacific’. We discuss it with vocalist/guitarist Pete Broadway:
Hi Pete and thanks for taking the time out to speak with us at Something You Said. Firstly congratulations on the new EP, Somewhere Over the Pacific. How did you come to work with Beau McKee on this?
Thanks for having me and thank you, so happy to have released the EP. I’ve been friends with Beau for years now, since back in his Closure In Moscow days, and I’ve always wanted to work with him on a project of mine. And the style of this band felt like something he could really bring to life and enhance what we already had written. I can’t praise him enough for the end result and making us strive to produce the best EP we could. The band as a whole definitely grew from working with him.
What challenges did this EP present?
For myself it was definitely a hard task to be 100% committed to guitar tones, as my idea of what sounds I wanted differed slightly to what we had been using for live shows. But working with Beau really opened my eyes to layering different tones and even vocally, he really challenged me to do better. And he managed, to quote a friend, “capture my live voice” which has been something I’ve never done on a recording.
Is your lyrical content derived from direct personal experiences or do you tend to approach writing in a disconnected 3rd person style?
The lyrics are very open and honest, and it’s all from personal experience, and was more of way to help me grow as a person. I suffered through a lot of depression that I had kept hidden from those closest to me which, in turn, pushed away the person that mattered most. The name itself, Fear Of Flying, has less to do than my actual fear of flying itself, and more that when I was heading back to Melbourne from Seattle, I was afraid to fly home, because I had no idea what was going to happen. And the title Somewhere Over The Pacific, is a lyric from our song The Last Minute, which I actually wrote whilst flying over the Pacific to America. However, Dear Life is the only song that was written prior as part of my solo project, and is not directly related, although, I have managed to somehow draw a lot of comparisons between this song and others. I guess songs can mean whatever you want them too, regardless of how they start out.
Coming from a solo artist background to working as a band, how did the dynamic between yourself and fellow band members shape your brand of music?
I’ve been playing with two of the members, Jayson and Steve, for quite a few years now, in various bands. So they have always been really open to what I’ve written. When I bring a new song to the group, I’m always excited to see their reactions, and what they have to offer. I mean, I write the songs, and then Aran, Jayson and Steve really turn them into something amazing. I recall, on occasion, to smiling so much with how a song sounded that I couldn’t sing.
What tips did you take away from watching other bands perform that have made it into your own live shows?
I’ve always been a fan of Something For Kate and I’ve definitely noticed this, you can play your songs perfectly, and that’s great, but if you don’t put on a show, people may as well listen to the CD and stay home. Something For Kate deliver a live performance that is near recorded perfection, but with a few little hints of flare and improvisation as well, whilst maintaining a commanding stage presence. By no means am I there yet, but it’s definitely what I’m striving for. And having a one on one connection with a crowded room, I’m not sure how he does that.
Sometimes watching bands from a genre that you would not normally be in to, deliver surprising results in terms of showmanship and crowd interaction. What have been some of the stranger things you have seen live that impressed you?
Funnily enough, I am a big fan of country music, now…. I wrote a jingle for a country music cruise called Cruisin Country, run by Choose Your Cruise based out of Adelaide. And with that I was invited to perform as a solo artist in this cruise. Which was a completely different world for me. Covered in tattoos, wearing skinny leg jeans and my white tee, surrounded by cowboy shirts, and various other fashion accidents. Don’t tell them I said that. I found myself part of amazing community, with some of the best musicians in the world, some of which I am lucky to call my friends. Shane Nicholson won an ARIA last week. Three years ago, I wouldn’t have known who he was.
Melbourne has a very vibrant music scene, bursting at the seams with bands. Have you found it to be a competitively beneficial environment that helps you push your own artistic boundaries?
Melbourne’s music scene is one of the most diverse I’ve encountered through my travels. But this is also a downfall of late. I remember going to shows when I was kid and seeing some incredible mixed bills which I’ve only just started to see happen again, and it’s awesome. With pushing my own boundaries I think that has mainly come from play with Aran, Jayson and Steve. We have very eclectic tastes and that’s starting to show with our new material.
You just played a string of shows in Melbourne, how were they received?
With a lot more enthusiasm than I thought they would. I had people coming up to me after shows, that weren’t friends or my mum, saying how much they loved our sound and came back for the next show. My mum is my biggest critic and she had some great things to say, and believe me, there have been times when she hasn’t. Haha.
Your video clip for One Fine Day is an interesting one, can you explain the artwork and how that was created?
The artwork was originally drawn by a local Melbourne artist, and friend, Sheen Jocson. I provided the finally texturing and colouring for the digipack. He captured a few elements other than the obvious that ended up being a little funny for me, as my cartoon self is sitting on a beach, I hate the beach. We are working towards a fully animated clip of the same style, but that will be a while off.
What does the rest of 2015 and 2016 have in store for you?
Rehearsal and writing for the rest of the the year and early next year & we hope to release our second EP. I may need to fly around the world and experience some more heartache though. Haha. But seriously our new EP is nearly written.
‘Somewhere Over The Pacific’ is available now on iTunes & Google Play.
Interview by Courtney Dabb.